Farmscape for June 20, 2012
A researcher with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine recommends heightened biosecurity to minimize the risk of Brachyspira infection.
Brachyspira, the bacteria that causes swine dysentery, has been identified in the U.S. midwest and in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Symptoms include diarrhea, sometimes bloody diarrhea and chronic weight loss in pigs.
Dr. John Harding, an associate professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, explains this is a fecal-oral transmitted disease which means herds become infected through manure which has arrived on the farm.
Clip-Dr. John Harding-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
Some of these Brachyspira species are transmitted by animals other than pigs.
One that is kind of common to all western Canada would be the bird species and many different bird species are actually carriers of some of the Brachyspira organisms so keeping that in mind from a producers' perspective one has to do everything possible to prevent Brachyspira infected manure or feces from entering the farm and contacting pigs.
Think about ways that that may happen and obviously contaminated trucks may be a problem, live pigs that are arriving on farm that are infected would be a problem and thirdly bootwear.
Going in and out of your barn with the same pair of boots and those boots having contact with other manure would certainly be a problem.
The one issue that I think all of us are trying to wrap our minds around and it's a bit of a new one for the industry is thinking that wild migratory birds, waterfowl, may in fact be a vector for swine dysentery and hence, if you step outside your barn into some goose pooh then in fact if your bring that back into your barn you may in fact be carrying a Brachyspira species without us even knowing about it.
Dr. Harding stresses improving biosecurity to prevent contaminated manure from coming into contact with pigs is incredibly important.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council